The MCS Competency Criteria provides clarity for installer companies looking to join the Scheme and maintain on-going compliance with the MCS Standards.
So why have we decided to refine the criteria for companies to gain MCS certification? The short answer is that we wanted to make the Scheme much more transparent, and to make it easier for you to demonstrate your competency to a Certification Body.
With a number of Government and EU policy changes coming into effect around the same time, MCS wanted to ensure that future and current MCS Contractors had as smooth a transition as possible from the existing to the new process.
The key aims of the project have been to:
- Assist with consumer protection and ensure companies are all at a fair and level competence standard;
- Add transparency to the requirements for installation companies;
- Provide better consistency of assessment by Certification Bodies;
- Provide greater detail in how the standards should be interpreted;
- Ensure the robustness of the Scheme to support the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the Feed-in Tariff (FITS) schemes.
In 2013, the Scheme published the Competency Criteria for the first time, the implementation for all companies was the 16th March 2014. However, we did produce a staggered implementation time line.
The key reasons for the staggered implementation timelines were to ensure that the requirements for criteria being met had a minimal impact on all companies. MCS is not looking to make the entry into the scheme onerous or complex, it seeks to ensure that all companies have an equal chance to enter the scheme whilst ensuring a fair level of competence is achieved by all. Therefore, the decision was taken to provide a 3-month window of all to interpret and understand (16th December 2013 – 16Th March 2014). Then from 16th March 2014, all new MCS Contractors and existing MCS Contractors wishing to upgrade its scope of approval were required to comply with the relevant criteria. Existing companies not falling within the bracket above had up-to 3 surveillance visits or at the latest 16th March 2017, to comply with the criteria.
This meant companies with a well-established training programme and on-going continual Professional development (CPD) could plan for any changes. Companies that were perhaps experiencing complaints and /or installing larger volumes of installations with multiple technical teams and more Certification Body interaction had to ensure the compliance within a shorter time frame (based on surveillances).
The implementation strategy also allowed the Scheme to develop additional routes of entry to ensure that wherever possible, complexity is minimised whilst still ensuring competence at a company level.
Work has continued to progress on the other routes and information available for companies, much of which can be found within this section.